F-22 Incident Prompts Inquiry

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You may surprised to hear that one of the U.S. Air Forceís prized F-22s nearly crashed on Sept. 19. Thatís because the government had kept the incident under wraps until a Texas newspaper broke the story. The Dallas Morning News reports an anonymous senior Air Force official confirmed the accident, which nearly cost the life of the pilot and the $161 million jet. The article claims an experienced F-15 pilot with less than 20 hours in the new Raptor attempted a dogfight maneuver that "sent the aircraft plummeting in an upside-down spiral." The article claims the F-22 plunged more than 10,000 feet before the pilot released the controls causing the F/A-22 to cease spiraling. The Air Force official told the newspaper a safety investigation board found no flaw in the airplane or any mechanical reason for the incident. For now, the development program continues, as the F-22, touted as a replacement for the F-15, is schedule to be fully operational by 2004.